CYCLING has certainly increased in popularity, especially as a method of transport to get to work as it’s a great way to avoid traffic congestion now prominent in many cities. With over 740,000 of the working population in England and Wales now reported to be cycling to work, many UK cities are now introducing cycle friendly measures to accommodate for the increasing popularity of cycling. These include cycle lanes and “bike to hire” programmes, similar to the Boris Bikes, a very successful concept in London. Despite these positive steps to promote cycling, there are still risks involved with cycling during rush hour which is why you need to be aware of how to avoid any dangers on the road. Here, we reveal six top tips on how you can avoid the potential risks of cycling to work, ensuring you get to your destination safe and sound!
1. Familiarise Yourself With The Highway Code
Unfortunately cyclists have developed a notorious reputation for pushing their luck on the road and not always abiding by the law, which has contributed to the increase in road accidents. Therefore if you already cycle to work or are considering starting to commute to work on your bike, you must familiarise yourself with The Highway Code. There is extensive information on The Highway Code requirements for cycling, a few include wearing protective clothing (which will be explored further on in the article), adequate light reflectors on your bike, riding single file in busy areas and not cycling on the pavement.
2. Always Wear A Helmet
Your safety is of paramount importance which it is why it is heavily recommended that you wear a helmet when cycling at all times. Should you get knocked off your bike or an accident of some kind occurs, a helmet will provide a physical safety barrier for your head, helping to prevent any serious head injury. Any journey involves risks so even one journey where you decide you have not got time or cannot be bothered with the effort of putting on a helmet can unfortunately become a deadly decision. Do not fall into bad habits, always wear a helmet!
3. Go Bright & Wear Protective Clothing
A great way to ensure you are visible to other road users is to wear bright and light clothing, additionally reflective accessories such as reflective strips should be worn these can be stuck onto your clothing and will help and make you safer on the road, such accessories are readily available and affordable. Wearing such clothing is of increased importance if you are cycling in the dark or in poorly lit areas. Cyclists are also advised for safety reasons to wear tight fitting clothing in order to prevent any clothing getting caught in the wheel or chain of your bike.
4. Plan Your Route
Planning your route in advance will give you time to balance up alternative routes and decide upon the safest route for yourself, as a cyclist, to get to work. The most direct route may not be suitable for cyclists, for instance it may include a section of motorway driving which is not practical. There are a plethora of APPs available that can help you decide which is the best route to take including Map My Ride, Strava and Ride with GPS. Therefore this step towards safety does not need to be a time consuming process.
5. Understand The Risks
WIth every method of transport there are risks involved which you must be aware of, this includes cycling! It is important to expect the unexpected, especially during the madness of the rush hour commute, be aware of pedestrians, people getting off buses, car doors opening unexpectedly and the chance you might get a puncture in an inconvenient location, to name just a few of the risks you may encounter on the road.
6. Be Aware Of What To Do In An Accident
No matter how safely you cycle on the roads and how many precautions you take an accident can still occur, thus you must be aware of what to do should you become involved in an accident on the road. In comparison to a car you are much more vulnerable to injury on a bike, a collision with a car can be a very traumatic experience. It is crucial you remain as calm as possible and if possible get out of the way of any oncoming traffic. If you are injured in any way it is very important you seek medical assistance, if anyone is seriously injured the emergency services should be called immediately.
If you feel the accident was not your fault you should speak to an accident claims solicitor who can provide guidance on how much compensation for a cycling injury you could claim for. In the initial aftermath it is key that evidence is collected such as photos, witness accounts and contact details of all parties involved in the accident. If you are unable to do this as a result of your injury ensure you ask someone else on the scene to carry this out on your behalf. Do not forget to note down the registration plate of the vehicle involved, as well as the make, model and colour.
All of this evidence will be very valuable if you do decide to seek legal advice and claim compensation for a cycling accident. Unfortunately cyclist injuries are often quite serious and long term, if you have been a victim of a major injury as a consequence of the accident that has resulted in you no longer being able to work you should seriously consider claiming for your losses. A legal advisor will be able to assess the evidence and decide if your case has merit in your free consultation, eradicating the possibility of you wasting your time and effort on a compensation claim that will not stand.
Cycling to work is certainly a great affordable way to keep healthy and has even been proven to reduce your chances of heart disease, however there are drawbacks to cycling due to the potential risks involved. But if you follow these six tips to avoid the risks you will increase your chances of arriving to work safely and on time.